Saturday, April 27, 2013

Journey to Liberty: The "Master of Life" Speaks

As we continue to examine how our nation was shaped 250 years ago I came across this speech by the Ottawa Chief Pontiac in the spring of 1763. As Europeans moved into North America in the sixteenth century and trampled upon the lands of the Native American people, their cultures started to mingle. The biggest side affected was the Indian way of life as they started to trade with their new European friends. Alcoholism became a huge problem and many Europeans took advantage of this by getting Indians intoxicated and then making unfair trades. As the French and Indian War began the majority of Native Americans tribes sided with their longtime ally France yet as the war concluded in 1760 many tribes feared what was going to happen with the land and their very way of life. Pontiac believed that the white man had become a poison on their very way of life and used the "Master of Life" as a means to explain it to his people. As he talks from the "Master of Life" perspective it has a very Christian theme to it all. 
"I am the Master of Life, whom thou desirest to know and to whom thou wouldst speak. Listen well to what I am going to say to thee and all thy red brethren. I am he who made heaven and earth, the trees, lakes, rivers, all men, and all that thou seest, and all that thou hast seen on earth. Because . . . I love you, you must do what I say and [not do] what I hate. I do not like that you drink until you lose your reason, as you do; or that you fight with each other; or that you take two wives, or run after the wives of others; you do not well; I hate that. You must have but one wife, and keep her until death. When you are going to war, you juggle, join the medicine dance, and believe that I am speaking. You are mistaken, it is to Manitou to whom you speak; he is a bad spirit who whispers to you nothing but evil, and to whom you listen because you do not know me well. This land, where you live, I have made for you and not for others. How comes it that you suffer the whites on your lands? Can you not do without them? I know that those whom you call the children of your Great Father supply your wants, but if you were not bad, as you are, you would well do without them. You might live wholly as you did before you knew them. Before those whom you call your brothers come on your lands, did you not live by bow and arrow? You had no need of gun nor powder, nor the rest of their things, and nevertheless you caught animals to live and clothe yourselves with their skins, but when I saw that you inclined to the evil, I called back the animals into the depths of the woods, so that you had need of your brothers to have your wants supplied and I shall send back to you the animals to live on. I do not forbid you, for all that, to suffer amongst you the children of your father. I love them, they know me and pray to me, and I give them their necessities and all that they bring to you, but as regards those who have come to trouble your country, drive them out, make war on them. I love them not, they know me not, they are my enemies and the enemies of your brothers. Send them back to the country which I made for them. There let them remain." (Pontiac's proclamation from the 'Master of Life', retrieved from on 1/14/13)
Pontiac's goal was to separate themselves as much as possible from the white man and hold on to their way of life. He wanted them to return to their origins, return to the way of life that once made them a great and proud people. You can see in the language that Pontiac foresaw that a war was necessary. On April 27, 1763 Pontiac made another speech, this time to various Native American tribes and convinced them to help lay siege to Fort Detroit. In a matter of weeks Pontiac's War began. Although his name is the most prominent of the chiefs many historians believe he did not play a big role such as Francis Jennings who wrote, "Pontiac was only a local Ottawa war chief in a 'resistance' involving many tribes." (Jennings, Empire of Fortune, 442) Pontiac's role however should not be too greatly diminished. Speeches such as this one and the one on April 27, 1763 played keys roles in sparking the conflict. This war led Great Britain to pass the Royal Proclamation of 1763 in an attempt to prevent conflict between the Native Americans in the west and the colonists in the East. What it did instead was add another log in the fire toward independence in the United States.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The George W. Bush Legacy

As the George W Bush Presidential Library opens today many pundits and even historians are weighing in on how Bush will be remember, what is his legacy? As much as people would like to talk about this now the emotions run too high on how people feel about him one way or the other. The consquences of his accomplishments and even his failures can not be properly evaluted at this time in history. It can take a minimum of 20-25 years to be able look back and see the big picture on the impact a President has had on our country. There are numerous examples of Presidents who have been considered failures after leaving the White House but as time continues the scope of their impact changes. It is difficult to argue against the fact the Bush was a good man, strong in his faith, and who loved America but his impact on our history and society will take some time to determine.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Yesterday's News: June 30, 1815

I love all things about history, not only the things that have changed over the last two hundred years but also the things that have not. As I was reading through an old London paper called "The Courier" and I saw on the front page an advertisement for a house for sale. The simplicity of the article was great and yet at the same time I notice how similar the advertisement is to ones we see today.
"Impeccable Tudor home nestled on over one private treed acre in prestigious Coldstream. The home boasts updated kitchen & baths"
"To be sold or let for a Term, a moderate-sized Family House in excellent repair, situate in a cheap and pleasant part of the Country of Somerset."
Both of these advertisement are extremely similar yet one is from 1815 and the other is from 2013, can you guess which one? (the one from 1815 is the bottom one) The rest of the advertisement is fairly similar as well detailing the elements of the home that would appeal to everyone, how much land is available, and who to contact to make the purchase. It's amazing how simple things don't change.

This newpaper was provided by...
Historic Newspapers -

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Tradition of Night Baseball

I had the pleasure last night of continuing a tradition with my wife of attending Opening Night at Great American Ballpark to watch the Cincinnati Reds take on the Los Angeles Angels. We love baseball as a family and since we've been married we have always gone on Opening Night. It is a tradition for us that we look forward to each year and despite the extremely chilly temperatures, in the mid 30s, we loved every minute. This tradition of playing baseball at night actually took some getting used to for the fans. The earliest game played under the lights was on September 2, 1880 in Massachusetts. The players had difficulty seeing, leading to many errors being made, and the spectators got bored because it was difficult to make out the majority of the action on the field. Various other attempts were made over the next few decades to illuminate the American pastime but with little interest as the low light made it difficult to watch (

The first Major League Baseball game played at night was in Cincinnati, Ohio at the old Crosley Field on May 24, 1935 where the Cincinnati Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1. The spectators finally caught on to the enjoyment of watching the games at night after a hard days work, since before very few could attend games in the middle of the day during the work week. The Reds played all their opponents at least once at night the rest of that season and despite their losing record, attendance went up. By the 1940s most of the Major League teams had lights installed and were hosting night baseball games, except the Chicago Cubs. Holding fast to their traditions Wrigley Field did not host a night game until 1988 and even now they have very few night games compared to the rest of the league. For all the other teams, night baseball is now the tradition and the rare "day game" is a novelty. If you have not taken the opportunity to attend a night game with your family and/or friends then I highly encourage each and every one of  you to do so. It is like no other sport to watch live. (  GO REDS!!!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...